About 952 of the tortoises, which are in great demand in international markets and whose trading is illegal in India, was seized by the 40th battalion of the BSF Border Out Post (BOP) Tentulberia while these were being smuggled to Bangladesh.
The catch was valued at over Rs 3.18 crores in international markets, BSF said adding it had received a specific intelligence input about the smugglers.
The Indian Star tortoise (Geochelone Elegans) is protected under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (as amended), which bans its possession and transfer in any form for commercial use. It is also protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), of which India is a signatory.
The Indian Star Tortoise is a characteristic species of the Indian sub-continent. It is distinctive an attractive, growing up to around 30cm across the carapace, but it faces a number of threats: it is traded for food, used in traditional medicine (primarily in Asia) and kept as a pet in Asia and North America.
--IBNS (Posted on 03-09-2013)